In 2022, the Forum’s historical memory and education programme “Confronting Memories” begins its third year. This year its project “Talking History, Talking Future” brings together a small group of experts from Germany, Moldova, Poland and Russia to create a methodological guide with exemplar learning activities on the use of WWII memorial sites in history education. Additionally, a short documentary film will be created and several public events will be organised.
Over the course of 4 online meetings, an in-person ‘expert meeting’ in Moldova and a summer school in Poland, where a focus group of history teachers will provide feedback, the experts will work together to design a methodological guide based around visits to memorial sites that can be adapted and used by history teachers in all of the participating countries and beyond.
As became clear in the projects in 2020 and 2021, in-person meetings are highly valued and places of important exchange between participants. In such a field as history education, where different perspectives are taught in different countries, and different methodologies are applied, conversations quickly become melting pots of ideas and opinions.
Memorial sites are places where history becomes tangible and alive; they are a way to bring local history to the forefront which can be much more engaging for students. Memorial sites, particularly those relating to WWII and the Holocaust, can help maintain a culture of remembrance and serve as a warning against nationalist movements nowadays.
The key aim of the “Confronting Memories” programme is multiperspectivity: involving and embracing other perspectives in history education to overcome stereotypes, learning sympathy for other points of view and becoming more critical-thinking individuals. Especially with the backdrop of the ongoing war in Ukraine, multiperspective history education is now more important than ever; we should be learning from the errors of the past, rather than glorifying one-sided national narratives that can be used to justify atrocities in the present day.
The project is supported by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Eastern Partnership Programme.